Tag Archives: Dry July

Challenge for August: No Processed Sugars! (and Raw Carrot Cake Recipe)

Hey everyone! Happy Friday to all!

I know I’ve been M.I.A. and have been neglecting you (I’m so sorry!) but rest assured I have been keeping healthy, staying dry (I completed the Dry July charity challenge and raised over $500 for cancer research) and busy dreaming up all sorts of new ideas to post about.

Dry July

Staying booze-free wasn’t too hard at all. The most challenging times were the first few Friday afternoons (I love an after-work red to kick off the weekend), a friend’s 30th (but I got over it after the first hour) and another friend’s birthday dinner (and I soon got over that after the food arrived – oink). I did however, find myself eating a lot more sweets and treats, justifying to myself that since I wasn’t drinking, I was consuming fewer calories anyway, or they were at least cancelling each other out.

BUT as we all know, it’s not (all) about the calories right?  I was consuming more processed sugar than before and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you don’t need me to tell you that nasty processed sugar is addictive and detrimental to your health! Yuck!

There are many opinions out there about sugar – processed and naturally occurring – and how much one should consume. I don’t purport to be an expert on it so I won’t preach here, but I will share with you what works for me, and how I want to eat.

Challenge for August

Now bringing it back to where I started off.. Taking on the Dry July challenge was fantastic – it gave me a goal to work towards and achieving it was very rewarding. I felt positive in body and mind. So I thought, why not take on another challenge in August: No processed sugars?!

Let me be clear: This isn’t a license for me to go and eat barrels of fruit a day and ladle honey over my morning muesli like it’s going out of fashion – a balanced diet is still important – it is an attempt to minimise the amount of processed sugars consumed. Sugar is in so many unsuspecting food items (like Ketchup and many of the Asian sauces we cook with plus so much more!) I can’t possibly cut them all out, but I can at least try to make “sugar swaps” – using healthier natural alternatives where possible – and cut out those blocks of Cadbury after dinner each night, and that 3pm cupcake at work, “you know, because it’s Tuesday”.

I’ll be experimenting with some different sugar alternatives, and working on some other greener meals and snacks, so stay tuned!

Raw Carrot Cake*

Depending on which way you look at it, this could be the perfect (or counter-intuitive) way to bring on my August challenge: a raw carrot cake using only natural ingredients and no added processed sugars (only honey and fruit are used as sweeteners). Just remember that cake is meant to be a treat, so enjoy in moderation.

raw carrot cake

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups walnuts
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup organic rolled oats – I used my morning raw muesli mix already stocked in the pantry (my cake batter was scattered with almonds, pepitas, sultanas and coconut – yum!) 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan rock salt – I love a touch of saltiness in my sweet!
  • 12 large fresh dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dried chopped apricots or pineapple – I used a combination of both
  • 2 large raw carrots, grated
  • 1 orange
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste – which I didn’t have so I used 2 tsp natural vanilla essence
  • 2 tbs raw protein powder

Method

  1. Combine walnuts, chia, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, protein powder, orange zest and salt into a food processor and processed until mixed and finely chopped.
  2. Add dates and apricots then process again until mixed through.
  3. Add grated carrot and vanilla and then process again until combined. The mix should now form a lovely dough.
  4. Tip into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add oats and kneed through the mixture.
  6. Press cake firmly into a 15-20cm baking tin that is lined with baking paper.
  7. Store in the fridge until ready to serve. Leave at least 2 hours to allow the carrot cake to rest.
  8. Lick fingers and bowl.
  9. Enjoy as is or with your choice of frosting.

Frosting Ideas

  1. Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
  2. For a raw cashew or macadamia nut cream, combine 1 cup raw nuts with 1/2 cup orange juice or coconut water and a little vanilla. Blend in Vitamix until smooth and creamy
  3. For a cream cheese style frosting, combine 250g soft cream cheese with a little lemon zest, juice, vanilla and maple syrup and honey, and beat until combined and creamy. You can use quark or Neutachafel (try Flannery’s, I think Barambah organics makes a quark) or a naughty but easily-accessible option is Philadelphia cream cheese (not raw or sugar free!!).

This cake is rather dense, and will cut up into about 16 slices. I ate 3 in the first day – oops! Enjoy xx

*Recipe credit to Teresa Cutter, The Health Chef: http://www.thehealthychef.com/2013/07/raw-carrot-cake/
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Thai Chicken Burgers with Korean Slaw

Image 1It’s the first weekend of Dry July, so in an effort to keep busy and eat clean, I decided to make a healthy dinner (as opposed to lazily getting takeout as I am often guilty of on a Friday night, bottle of wine in tow).

This recipe is from the “detox” menu plan in Gwyneth Paltrow’s “It’s All Good” cookbook. By the way, I’ve tried a few of her recipes now and I must say, I am digging them! I had mine bun-free as I had already indulged in pizza, chips and cake today (oops) but you can have them on a gluten-free bun. These burgers were, as my friend Lauren would say, absolutely deeelish!

Thai Chicken Burgers

Serves 4

  • 500g minced chicken breast
  • 2 garlic cloves, very finely minced
  • 2/3 cups coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped – I used spring onions
  • 1 tsp very finely minced red chilli – I used 2 small hot chillies
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbs neutral oil (like canola, grapeseed or safflower oil)

Thoroughly mix the chicken with the garlic, coriander, shallots, red chilli, fish sauce, salt and pepper. Form the mixture into 4 burgers (I made 8 smaller ones).

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Rub each burger on both side with a bit of the oil and grill for about 8 minutes on the first side and another 5 minutes on the second, or until nicely marked and firm to the touch.

Korean Slaw

Makes 2 cups

  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil – Next time I would use only 1tbs, it was a tad oily for my liking
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded cos lettuce
  • 3 tbs finely diced red red onion
  • 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced – I used spring onion
  • 3 tbs roughly chopped coriander
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice and fish sauce in a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and allow the slaw to sit for at least 10 minutes and as long as 6 hours before serving.

Easy as!

I hope you enjoy the burgers as much as I did, and that you have a happy and healthy weekend! Rest relax rejuvenate xx

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Dry July

Clear Your Head, Make a Difference

Back in April my boyfriend and I had 6 weeks off the booze, in an attempt to be healthier and to save some money. It really wasn’t that hard especially since we were doing it together. We felt energised and positive! So when I heard of “Dry July” – a charity that raises funds to help adults living with cancer – I thought, why not participate? It’ll give me an opportunity to have another month off and re-focus, and more importantly, it’s a good deed!

A colleague of ours is currently going through the heartache of helping her loved one fight cancer, so we have set up a workplace team to show our support. If you wish to donate, you can do so by visiting http://au.dryjuly.com/team/chesswealthpartners.*

Eating Clean

A month without alcohol is also a good motivator to eat clean. I must admit that lately I have been indulging a little more than I should be in sweets and processed foods (white flours and sugars.. I’ve been naughty!) so this is a good time for me to reset. I’ll be making an effort to have a juice or smoothie everyday and to eat clean.

I kicked off the morning this Energising Green Juice.

Photo of Energising Green Juice

Energising Green Juice

Ingredients

  • 1 green apple
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 stick celery
  • 4 leaves kale
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • 1 lemon, peel removed
  • 2cm-piece ginger

Method

Put all ingredients through a juicer. Simple!

You can use any combination veggies and fruits you like. There are no rules.**

Stay tuned for more clean recipes throughout my Dry July!

*If you want to sign-up for Dry July yourself, visit https://au.dryjuly.com/sign-up/. My individual profile is http://au.dryjuly.com/profile/fionawhite.

**Remember to eat the colours of the rainbow – mostly veggies. Fruits are still high in sugar so have these in moderation. More green veggies = higher alkalising effect = better for you! Happy juicing! x

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